CONCORD – On the same day his bill to expand vouchers in New Hampshire to levels not seen in any other state failed to clear the House Education Committee on a vote of 20-0, Governor Sununu announced a new Emergency Order forcing any New Hampshire school district not currently offering at least 2 days of in-person instruction to begin doing so by March 8.
“You’re late to the game, Governor,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH President. “Educators and districts have already worked together to reopen more than 80% of NH schools for at least 2-3 days a week of in-person instruction – some for even more days each week.
“The Governor was late to the game on recommending safety protocols for schools. He still has not responded to our repeated requests to meet to work together on this issue. And now, late again and at the last minute, he issues an Emergency Order to mandate schools provide some measure of in-person instruction. We have no doubt that we will see this action on his list of ‘accomplishments’ as he begins his run for Senate.”
Governor Sununu did not reopen schools – New Hampshire’s educators and administrators have worked creatively and collaboratively to get the work done.
“Let’s be clear- this new Emergency Order does very little to change the current landscape of open school buildings, impacting only a small number of schools that are not yet offering some degree of in-person instruction.”
While we do appreciate the acknowledgement he made today for our efforts, we believe the Governor’s lack of leadership on this issue, along with his continued stream of misinformation regarding educators, has led to increased criticism and hostility toward our members in local communities. Educators did not close the schools and educators cannot re-open them on their own. No one wants to be back in the classroom more than we do and we are doing everything we can to be sure that this is accomplished as safely and as soon as possible.
“We have never said that educators need to be vaccinated before schools can re-open. We said we believe educators should be vaccinated before the ski patrol. But once again, during today’s press conference Governor Sununu repeated this misinformation.”
We are proud of the work we have done since the pandemic began. While school buildings have been closed, education has never stopped. We look forward to the day we can all return safely to full-time in-person learning.